In a phone interview with CNN host Anderson Cooper, Hillary Clinton defended her family’s foundation, claiming that while there’s “a lot of smoke,” “there is no fire.”
She emphasized all the allegedly good works that the Clinton Foundation has done over the years, including its work regarding HIV and AIDS.
Anderson Cooper: “[Donald Trump] also said today quote, “that you sold favors and access in exchange for cash from people who donated to the Clinton Foundation. Now, I know you point to the life-saving work for the foundation that the foundation has done over the years – getting low-cost HIV drugs and other things.
“And I know you deny the charges that Mr. Trump is making there, but at the very least, isn’t there an appearance of a conflict of interest with the foundation? You’ve agreed to make changes if you’re elected; why not just make those changes now – have your husband step away from the foundation now?”
Hillary Clinton: “Well, first, what Trump has said is ridiculous. My work as Secretary of State was not influenced by any outside sources. I made policy decisions based on what I thought was right, to keep Americans safe, and to protect U.S. interests abroad. No wild political attack by Donald Trump is going to change that. And, in fact, the State Department has said itself that there is no evidence of any kind of impropriety at all.
“Now, I think it’s important to recognize that the foundation – which does do life-saving work, and is so well-respected here in our country and around the world – has been doing this work for a number of years. And in 2009, they took steps that went above and beyond all legal requirements, and indeed, all standard requirements followed by every other charitable organization – voluntarily disclosing donors, significantly reducing sources of funding, even to the point of, you know, of those funding it being involved in providing medication to treat HIV/AIDS.
“And I think that the announcement that the foundation has made really reflects its desire to continue as much of its important work as possible, but to do it in a way that provides great disclosure. And although none of this is legally required, these steps go further than the policies that were in place when I was Secretary of State. And it’s important to remember, Anderson, the foundation is a charity. Neither my husband nor I have ever drawn a salary from it. You know more about the foundation than anything concerning Donald Trump’s wealth, his business, his tax returns.
“I think it’s remarkable. His refusal to release his tax returns is even more concerning given the recent news that his businesses are hundreds of millions of dollars in debt. The big banks – including the state-owned bank of China – and business groups with ties to the Kremlin.
“So yes, we did provide a lot of life-saving work. I’m proud of the work my husband started, and he did. We provided a massive amount of information. And Donald Trump – doesn’t release his tax returns and is indebted to foreign banks and foreign lenders.”
Hillary stated that there would be changes made to the Clinton Foundation because of “unique circumstances” if she were to win the presidency. But Anderson Cooper asked if those “unique circumstances” were also present while she was Secretary.
“Look, Anderson, I know there is a lot of smoke and there is no fire,” Hillary replied. “This AP report – put it in context. This excludes nearly 2,000 meetings I had with world leaders. And countless other meetings with U.S. government officials when I was secretary of state. It looks at a small portion of my time.”
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